Friday, February 28, 2014

East Wall

I had some very nice turns out on the East Wall today in the Willy's Wide run out below the traverse. Superb coverage with 4+ inches of fluff on top. My idea of fun. During a couple of hour tour, I found good snow everywhere I went including International, Sundance, Slalom Slope, West Wall, Main Street to Rock Garden, MGD,  and Columbine/Larkspur. Snow fell in the morning and the sun popped out for a really nice afternoon. Looks like tomorrow morning could be pretty snowy.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Basin Days

Camera Shy

These very camera shy ladies enjoyed a day at The Basin.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

East Wall Open

The East Wall first opened last Friday. Due to the nature of the area, it opens and closes depending on snow and weather conditions. Commonly just called The Wall, it is a great place to ski and ride. It is wide open and known for powder skiing. The Upper East Wall (North Poles and Willy's Wide) is open for hiking usually in the spring. This season there is tremendous cover out there and I am expecting a great, long East Wall season.

Independence Mountain

Independence Mountain is the beautiful summit straight South of Montezuma Bowl. It lies almost directly between A-Basin and The Outback at Keystone. Skiing the lower portions of both Columbine and Larkspur there are stunning views of the mountain. One of my favorite skis at The Basin is coming down the lower portion of Larkspur (we call this portion West Meadow) with Independence staring me in the face. Stopping and looking back up hill at Long Chute and MGD is a pretty good view also.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Friday morning was great skiing in MGD. The wind was kind there also. The views from Zuma Cornice are always good.  West from MGD, there has been exceptional skiing and riding in Schaufler, Jump, Gentling's Glade and Elephant's Trunk. Very nice.

Friday, February 21, 2014

All White

What a great morning ski today. I rode Pali a few times, as well as Black Mountain Express, Lenawee Mountain and Zuma Lifts. Incredible coverage everywhere. Lenawee Parks is completely white. Pali Face is completely white. Norway is completely white. This most recent snow and wind really buffed the surface. Simply great snow everywhere. Many of those extra special lines are skiable and really fun. The sun has popped out and it is just a beautiful day.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Terrain Parks

Over the last couple months there have been a few questions about the park, specifically jumps. A-Basin is in a different position than many of the parks and ski areas around us. Obviously, snowmaking water available for park building during 2012-13 season really limited park building. The areas around us have a much greater capacity for park building than we do. As a result those areas have bigger parks and a much greater park following. Our intention is to provide a good park within our snowmaking means and one that people have a chance to have some fun riding and sliding. Different than other seasons, this year we chose to build out the parks at a different pace. We chose a pace that more closely matched our park usage. Typically, our park usage is very high the first couple of weeks of the season, is relatively light for several mid-season months, and picks up again late season. So we started with the little Banana Park, by Christmas we added the bigger High Divide Terrain Park, and more recently we added several bigger rail and box features in the Treeline Park. As we roll into spring and park usage increases, we plan on adding more features. We have not yet decided just what those features will be. Do we have a policy of "No Jump Building". Absolutely not. Simply, for now we have tried to build a park that matches usage and is within our snowmaking means. We are constantly keeping an eye on the parks and, like everything we do, we will try and make the best decisions that provide the best experiences for the most people. I look forward to hearing your comments and please be constructive.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

North Side - Buffed

I snuck out of the office this afternoon for a few spins on The North Side. That place is completely buffed. These winds were VERY KIND. If the lift would not have closed, I'd still be out there. Just flat, smooth, buffed, and perfect. All the forecasts (Joel at Opensnow, CAIC, CAIC point forecast, and NOAA) are indicating a decent storm tonight with new snowfall in the 4-9" range and W-NW wind in the 15-25 mph range. If that snow and wind falls on our currently buffed out North Side snow, the skiing in the morning will be worth calling in sick for. See you at Pali at 9.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Another Sunny Day

Two days in a row of sunshine. Wow. Tomorrow afternoon and evening we should see another storm. The East Wall work continues. Mitigation work has been done just about everywhere. Most of our paths have slid over these last few storms. The coverage below the traverse is very good. The best case scenario would be a frosting of new snow Wednesday followed by some moderate weather. Stay very closely tuned for East Wall updates.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Sun

After a few glorious weeks of snowfall, today was a bright, bluebird day. Warm, but not too warm. The wind really buffed the North Side out. Looks like we might see the sun again Tuesday, but hang on, Old Man Winter is going to return before long. More powder skiing before the week is over.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Very Good Saturday

What a cool day. We had 5" new again this morning. The day started a bit breezy and then really turned into a great ski day. We even had a good snow shower blow in for about an hour in the afternoon. The ski day closed out with some dramatic low hanging clouds. The Save Our Snow Celebration and The New Belgium Scavenge were big hits. The preliminary report said we raised some good money for the High Country Conservation Center. Smokey The Bear made a presence and hung out with our Ski Instructors and that New Belgium dude. We will close out the day with "An Evening in Spain" up at Black Mountain Lodge. Chef Rybak will be serving his best food with sultry Latin music from Amanda Fitch. It was a big day around here. I look forward to seeing the moon lit peaks on the walk down.

.....And the skiing was great and it just might snow again tomorrow night. The skiing and the riding is the heart and soul of this place.


Friday, February 14, 2014

.....And It Is Still Snowing

Before tonight's Valentine's Day activities I took a quick skin up to mid-mountain. It is dumping....again. The forecast for tonight looks very good. I suggest getting here early tomorrow morning. Leave home early and drive safely. If for some crazy reason, you don't want to ski the pow, you want to sleep in and you want a close in parking spot, take your time getting here. Consider arriving at 1 PM or later once the morning crowd has headed home. You might end up very close to The Beach. 

"IT" is good.

Storm Image

I love this photo Ryan Cross sent me.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Avalanche School

This week A-Basin is hosting Phase II of the National Avalanche School (NAS). Approximately 20 students, mostly ski patrollers from Colorado ski areas, are taking part in a 4 day field course in and around A-Basin. You may have noticed groups of 5-6 skiers wandering around, digging snow pits, doing beacon searches, and generally checking out the mountain and the snow. The instructors, Ethan Greene, Knox Williams, Scott Toepfer, and Dale Atkins, are like a "who's who" of avalanche professionals. Back in November the students attended the Phase I portion of the NAS, a week long classroom session, in Snowbird. Other Phase II session were held or are being held in Snowbird, Jackson, and Crystal Mountain. With yesterday's excitement, the group picked a pretty good week to visit.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Save Our Snow and The New Belgium Scavenge

Benefiting Summit County's High Country Conservation Center (HC3), we have a couple of very fun events this Saturday. Enjoy A-Basin's Save Our Snow Celebration. Meet our Green Team and the staff from HC3 and learn about our environmental practices. There will be a "Green Village" in the base area. Our environmentally conscious partners will be sharing their initiatives and demoing their sustainable products. Additionally, The New Belgium Scavenge will be going on all over the mountain. This is a day to don your best costume, chase chickens, search for Bigfoot and answer some ridiculous riddles all while skiing, raising money for the HC3, and bonding with your friends - or the person you meet in the check-in line and decided to sign up as a team. For more details, check out the Events Page of our Website.

Embracing the spirit of the Save Our Snow Celebration, this weekend is a great time to carpool or ride the Summit Stage to A-Basin. Save a few bucks, burn a little less gas, and ease your driving and parking challenges.

........And it is snowing again.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Best Photo

Check out this photo taken by Rob Ware, our Lift Maintenance Manager. He took it from near the top of Pali. This is The Widowmaker debris covering Highway 6. The front loader near the center of the photo has cleared approximately the first 50' of the slide.

It has been a long day, but the news is good. Highway 6 is open, A-Basin is open, and the skiing and riding know......just incredible.

Update - We Are Open

Well, that was quite a morning. As I mentioned in the earlier blog, The Widowmaker slide put a substantial amount of snow on Highway 6 about 1 mile west of the ski area. Some of the debris was 20+ feet deep and it covered 200-300 feet of the highway. The slide took out a substantial amount of timber. Three big front end loaders, two from A-Basin and one from CDOT, spent almost 5 hours removing snow, logs, and other debris from the road. All the logs mixed with the snow made the job extra difficult. I think the snow removal was completed about 1 PM and CDOT re-opened the road soon thereafter.

We had the lifts open and ready as soon as the first cars showed up. 

We also had a very big morning with the avalauncher on The East Wall. There is no question there is enough snow to get that open. This morning we saw major slides in many places including North Poles, Willy's Wide, Birthday Chute and more. Getting that wall open is our next major priority. We will get it.

....And, oh yeah, the skiing is incredible.